Saturday, 5 January 2013

Independence is the first step

On January 2nd Sky News began a report by stating, “The main political parties have disagreed...”

Now, you might question why political parties disagreeing is ‘news’ – isn’t that what they do? However, the reason the phrase is noteworthy relates to the parties that were disagreeing, not the fact they disagreed.

Sky chose to call them the “main political parties”, yet they were talking about Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. Once again the political reality in Scotland was completely ignored - we have a Scottish National Party Government, with the Tories and Liberal Democrats being little-more than fringe parties.

Of course, Sky is not alone in taking a high-handed, dismissive attitude to Scotland. The BBC ‘network’ news, broadcasting across the UK, often forgets to mention that stories relating to the health service, legal matters and education in some part of England have no relevance to Scotland.

To put it bluntly, in the eyes of London-based broadcasters – and politicians - Scotland does not matter unless it somehow impinges on English consciousness, such as with that independence thing. Even then, the ‘network’ perspective on reporting the move towards Scottish independence is often extremely patronising, reminiscent of the days of Empire when foreign correspondents would tell of ‘uprisings’ by colonial subjects who had the crazy idea that they might actually like to run their own country, rather than accept rule from London.

This is not a new phenomenon, it’s called cultural imperialism – a situation where a more powerful state creates and maintains structures and mechanisms that favour its position and perpetuate an unequal relationship with less powerful states. But, of course, the ordinary men and women of England play no part in their country’s imperialistic relationship with Scotland. Ask most English people about Scottish independence and they will say, rightly, that it is a matter for the Scots to decide. It is the small, ruling elite centred-around positions of power in Whitehall, and the loyal metropolitan media, which perpetuate a system that keeps the English working class in a state of struggle, while ignoring the Scots colony, other than to exploit its natural resources and people, which has been the way of imperialism for hundreds of years.

Again, the perpetuation of rule by a small, self-serving group over the majority is not new. It has been ‘the norm’ since before Scotland was brought under the dominion of England through the British Union of 1707. In all of the years since then, through feudalism to what passes for parliamentary democracy, the ruling class has manipulated society to accept its interests as being beneficial for everyone. Even today, the view of the ruling class – the British establishment and wealthy elite – is portrayed as the natural and inevitable way of things, which is why we are told that the majority must accept savage cuts to jobs, wages, services and benefits, in order that the corrupt capitalist system can be rebuilt.

The core principle of capitalism is unfairness: the system only works for the ruling elite through giving to them the power to exploit the majority, yet British cultural imperialism and hegemony is used to persuade us that this is normal and inevitable, and cannot be changed.

A more recent concept that plays a significant role in perpetuating the rule of the elite, and in ascribing to Scotland the role of a colony, to be managed and exploited, is ‘media imperialism’. All so-called impartial broadcasters in the UK give support to the pinnacle of the British ruling class, the Royal Family. Most, if not all, mainstream newspapers back the capitalist economic system that perpetuates inequality in society. All daily newspapers sold in Scotland are owned by non-Scottish companies, many take their editorial line from London newsrooms, and some even support the Conservatives, which has just one MP in Scotland and is a minority party in the Scottish Parliament. No mainstream Scottish daily newspapers support independence for Scotland.

The concept of ‘media imperialism’ relates to print and broadcast outlets being concentrated in the hands of a wealthy, ruling elite, and particularly when such media ownership is held in a larger country to the one in which news is reported. Scotland’s position within the British Union is a classic example of media imperialism at work.

Political stories and opinion columns carried in Scottish, mainstream, daily newspapers almost all adopt a pro-British Union stance, despite the fact we have a pro-independence government elected by the Scottish people. The Daily Express, the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Sun all support the Tory Party led by posh-boy millionaires David Cameron and George Osborne. All media outlets report ‘the markets’ and big business activity as if there is no alternative.

Against such seemingly overwhelming odds, it is remarkable that increasing numbers of Scots have been prepared to back pro-independence parties, particularly the SNP, to the extent that, next year, we will have a vote on whether or not we wish our country to remain within the British Union.

Restoring Scotland’s independence is the first step we must take towards ending the corrupt social and economic systems that see the majority exploited in the interests of the ruling class. Such change will never happen within the British Union.

Independence is the catalyst that will allow us to tackle the bread and butter issues that affect every one of us, every day of our lives – but this is not inevitable. An SNP Government in an independent Scotland would retain the capitalist economic system and would simply swap an English ruling elite for a Scottish one.

Only independence will deliver to us the power to govern our country – so we must vote ‘Yes’ in the Independence Referendum – but once we have retaken the status of a normal nation, if we want to put the interests of the people before the profits of multi-national corporations, we have to be prepared to break the hold of the ruling elite.

For a fairer, more equitable society, we need a Scottish republic, with a government implementing socialist policies. At that point, we also must help our brothers and sisters in England to throw-off the yolk of cultural imperialism and end rule by a self-serving, wealthy, capitalist elite.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Opinion Column again from Campbell. When do you think Scottish Labour will waken up to the reality of Independence for Scotland and acknowledge grass-roots support within their own ranks? This will add spice to the debate, and influence the final outcome.